Friday, August 12, 2016

Dinos on the Dance Floor!

I had a lot of fun with the dino-hunt back in May so I thought I should paint up some more victims for future such games.  I wanted to avoid the usual green lizard patterns so I just went with whatever I fancied. The sharp eyed will spot one influence, the real cammo nerds - another.

For the final spray I was unable to find any matte varnish so made do with satin. It works ok for dinos but not vehicles or or human figures.

Triceratops in a daring print

Mega-velociraptor Maltesi

Steggie - No change other than a wash and spray

A pack of  small carnivores

Mid to late war Tyrannosaur

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Bus Conversion - Part 1

As mentioned in my last post, during my travels in Malta, I picked up three toy busses. Two have been put aside for display and future use in a Hercules game but the third was earmarked for my British Home Guard.

Three Busses

I will note here that there are several different scales and manufacturers of busses available and at wildly varying prices. These were the nicer of the 1/48ish scale that I found. I picked them up from a store in the otherwise touristy Buggiba at 12 euros for 3.  The exact same models were 8 euros each in the airport store.  Caveat emptor!

Not being a Bedford expert, I believe that these were from a primarily post war series but a handful were built in '39 and they look right, so I am not going to sweat the details.

The Victim
The models are of Chinese manufacture and feature a white metal body on a plastic chassis with plastic windows and detailing.  The chassis is fixed to the body with two phillips screws so disassembly was trivial.

Bits and Pieces
The chrome bits are held on by the chassis pins and the windows just pop out with a gentle push on the securing tabs. Some detail is created using stickers but overall the paintwork is actually very good. I was actually reluctant to carry out the next step.

Stripped for Service
Into the paint stripper went the body. Unlike some Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars I have stripped for Car Wars where a thick layer of paint obscured significant detail, the paint was quite thin and came off easily and cleanly.

At this point, I am not sure how I am going to proceed,  My initial thought was a simple conversion with the windows as is.  As I look through various period conversions, I am now leaning toward armoured radiators and rifle ports in plated over windows. This will involve a lot more modelling work though.  Much to ponder and more to follow.

Introducing the Colonel

At the end of July, my family and I spent a wonderful two weeks in Malta, where my ever enduring wife's family is from.  Prior to my trip over, I had looked into war gaming groups and resources on the islands but apart from one club, there appeared to be nothing much. I did pick up a number of Malta specific military history books and a couple of toy buses for conversions, but other than that (and the usual plastic tourist tat Knights of St John figures), the islands appeared to be lead free.

In the very last hour of our last trip to the main city of Valetta, I was on the search for bottled water - it was 35 C in the shade - when on a side street, I saw an unassuming looking shop with some toy cars in the window. I went in and found I was in Pace Models on Old Theatre street in Valletta. They had cars and busses and figures....  hand painted 54mm figures.  I looked at the prices but at 15 Euros a pop, my Scots blood rebelled and I left empty handed.

After not acquiring water at less than ruinous prices, I linked back up with the family and yet there was a restlessness and incompleteness in my soul that only fellow gamers would understand.  With less than 20 minutes left before we had to catch the bus out of Valetta, I ran through the heat and back to the store. I resolved to just buy one figure as purchasing the whole set could have lethal consequences, and this is what I came away with:

Colonel, Cacciatori Maltesi
The Colonel is 54mm and hand painted.  He is but one figure in a good, if very specialized, range of Maltese related figures produced in Malta by  David Grech of DeGree Miniatures.

There are several more in the series of Maltese themed display and toy soldier figures on their website and many more not pictured on the web yet. DeGree also has a line of Maltese politicians, including a dog, and transportation themed miniatures.

I am very proud of my acquisition and while he may never be part of an army (though I am working on that), he will take pride of place in the Wargames Room. I am very sad I did not have more time to spend at Pace Models looking at more of their offerings.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

IHMN Dino Hunt!

This weekend past, I set up the table in the man cave, worked up some basic dino rules for In Her Majesty's Name and ran a quick dino-hunt for my friend Shane.

View of the field from the dino end
A basic road through the jungle. Brush is considered to extend back to the table edge.

The hearty band of adventurers
Shane picked a group of figures he liked the look of and I transposed the stats for them from the basic rulebook. Hunter, gun slinger, lady adventurer, Brick Lane bomber - with explosive grenades, and an axe guy.

The Hunt Begins!
The party sets off.  I had some very basic rules for encounters - 1 or a 2 on a D6 for a dino to appear with type coming from a fudged Venus encounter chart in the Space 1889 RPG rule book.

Rawr? Herbivore prey in sight
The first behemoth pokes his head out of the brush.

The hunter fires, hits but the massive lizard makes his pluck roll. This was to be a pattern for the rest of the game.  Making dinosaurs armour light and pluck heavy gives the right feel.

That's not very nice! RAWR!
The dino charges and the lady adventurer counter charges! (Must be a follower of Mrs. Pankhurst)

Seeing a lady in distress, the hunter fires again and the dino takes one in the cranium.

What'cha doing?
Mean while a Steggie wonders what all the noise is about. While reading up on various dinosaurs, I noted that current thinking is that the plates of the stegosaurus were used for signalling emotional state. I chose to interpret this as the  Clouding Men's Minds power which shuts down all shooting. This may be a bit too powerful but it prevents a complete walk over by the gun carriers.

An Oops! and a Boom!
The Brick Lane boy rushes in and fails his grenade throw.

Deploy the Thagomizer!
Steggy prepares to retaliate against the un-armoured human. Yes, "thagomizer" is the accurate technical term.

And the party charges in to close the range.
Swing and a miss!
The Steggy hits but the street ruffian manages to duck under the whistling spikes!

I don't like this!
The Steggy thinks better of the situation and takes off.

Run Away!
And keeps going.....

Follow the Yellow Sand road!
The party heads back out, short a specimen.

Soft, what teeth o'er yonder hill top break?
Only to meet a pair of Velociraptors!

Who promptly charge in coming up a little short. The bomber responds but her ladyship can't quite make it.

Bang, Bang, Bang!
Everyone opens up...

And one goes down!
Taking down one of vicious critters. Sadly it's sibling comes up short and snapping teeth fail to connect.

The noise police return.
Steggy wanders back.  This noise is disturbing his grazing and simply must stop!

Firing past the head of the Brick Lane boy, the hunter takes out the last raptor.

Deploy Thagomizer! (again)
The Steg charges in...

Another Swing another Miss - Babe Ruth he ain't
and fails, falling to a hail of bullets from the gun slinger.

The road goes ever on...
The Hunt continues.

Fee, Fi, Fo Fum!
What's that noise in the woods?! Could it be....

Nom, Nom, Nom....
The Terrifying T-Rex charges in as fast as a horse and takes a snap at the Hunter....

whose pluck isn't that plucky and takes off screaming like a little school girl - the shame - I mean attempts to open the distance for a ranged attack.

By my reading of the rules at the time, the T-Rex did not follow up.  While I wait and see what the IHMN consensus is, for future games I will house rule that unintelligent terrifying creatures must follow up to the extent of their move, intelligent ones may if they wish.

Her ladyship sneaks in for a rear attack.

So embarassing.....
The T-Rex swings his mighty tail to bat the female ape creature away - and fails rolling a "1". Rolling for a critical failure, and failing again with a second "1", the force of his swing over balances the mighty lizard and drops him in the dirt.

Next turn he pops back up and attempts to gnaw on the lady ape...

Eeeeeek....!!! round two
who fails her pluck roll and runs screaming like a un-manned hunter into the bush.

Raaaawr!  I can do this I know I can!
The T-Rex runs on the gunman again, who runs again leaving the lizard open to a rear attack.

Denied and the axe falls.
The axeman jumps in and with one mighty swing to a very sensitive spot, drops the lizard in its tracks.

The butcher's bill.....
A successful hunt complete. Lots of tweaks to make but it was a good game overall with several points where the humans were in serious danger.